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Kamala Harris

Who is Kamala Harris - Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate?

Kamala Harris has made history by becoming the first African American woman to appear on the ticket for a major party in the US presidential election, being selected as Joe Biden’s running mate for the 2020 election.

Harris – a Senator representing California – was amongst the favourites to become Biden’s VP nominee, after he had announced he would pick a woman as his running mate at the last Democratic debate, back in March.

Biden had reportedly drawn a shortlist of candidates which included many prominent women, such as Tammy Duckworth, Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams and Gretchen Whitmer. It was widely reported that Biden favour picking an African American woman as his running mate, likely due to the inability for Hillary Clinton to mobilise black voters in 2016.

A former prosecutor, Kamala Harris made her name in California, working to become the state’s attorney general; serving from 2011 until 2017, when she was elected to become the junior Senator from California.

Harris had originally been running for president herself, announcing her candidacy in February 2019, but withdrawing later that year, before any primary elections were held.

During the early presidential debates, she had clashed with Biden after he said only one African American woman had ever been elected to serve in the Senate, despite Kamala Harris becoming the second when she took her seat in 2017.

Since withdrawing from the presidential race, Harris has been considered amongst the favourites for the vice-presidential nomination, with numerous reports suggesting that the Biden team had been in touch with her long before the primaries were over.

Speculation was rife in recent days, however, that she was no longer in consideration after Harris unfollowed Joe Biden’s Twitter account in the days before his announcement of a running mate, which was widely expected early this week.

Harris has been vocal on police and criminal justice reform in the United States throughout her political career, and the decision to pick her as running mate is perhaps fuelled in part by the rising tension between African Americans and the police in recent months.

Following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the Senator was seen at protests in Washington DC, as well as being vocal about the need for reform.

As a passionate speaker, strong campaigner and a popular party figure, Harris is perhaps the perfect candidate to inject energy into the Biden campaign, which had seemingly lost energy and was seeing its polling lead narrow in recent days.

She has also gained notoriety in Senate committees, with her cross-examination of many Trump officials during the impeachment trial gaining her national acclaim.

Harris will make a major speech at the Democratic convention, which begins on the 17th August, kicking off the final stretch of the campaign as we enter the hurtle towards 3rd November.


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore under licence (CC BY 2.0)

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